By Terrance Turner
March 12, 2021
On Monday, International Women’s Day, President Joe Biden introduced the nominees who would be the second and third women to ever lead combatant commands. He spoke about the measures the military is taking: updating grooming standards, like allowing short ponytails, to make the environment for all forces more inclusive. He also appointed two female service members — Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost of the Air Force and Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson of the Army — to become four-star generals.
At that event, Biden said the military was undertaking “relatively straightforward work” to better reflect gender diversity within its ranks and retain female recruits, including “designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits [and] updating requirements for their hairstyles.” That includes the efforts of Senior Master Sgt. Genevieve, superintendent of the 13th Reconnaissance Squadron, 926th Wing. According to the Air Force Times, Genevieve, whose last name has been omitted due to security concerns related to her job and mission, helped make maternity flight uniforms more available for pregnant Airmen members.
Instead of celebrating this change, Fox News host Tucker Carlson chose to mock it. “So, we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military,” he said. He added an anti-trans dig as he continued his monologue.
“While China’s military becomes more masculine as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military, as Joe Biden says, needs to become more feminine — whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist,” Carlson said. “The bottom line is it’s out of control and the Pentagon is going along with it. Again, this is a mockery of the U.S. military and its core mission, which is winning wars.”
Carlson’s sexist comments drew a flurry of negative attention. One notable example was Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both of her legs during a deployment in Iraq. (She became the first member of Congress to give birth while in office in 2018.)
“F-ck Tucker Carlson. While he was practicing his two-step, America’s female warriors were hunting down Al Qaeda and proving the strength of America’s women,” Duckworth tweeted. “Happy Belated Women’s Appreciation Day to everyone but Tucker Carlson, who even I can dance better than.”
In one viral clip, U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott Stalker, the Senior Enlisted Leader of United States Space Command, said that Carlson’s opinion is “based off actually of zero days in the armed services.” He also called on the military to “get back to work” and said “let’s remember those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life.”
Rep. Mikie Sherill, a former Navy pilot who is also a mom of four, also noted that Carlson’s comments aren’t informed by one second of military experience. She was joined by a number of other female military veterans:
Now, #CancelFox is trending amid blowback from Tucker Carlson’s comments, which he refuses to apologize for. (But then again, he also didn’t apologize for falsely claiming that Black people “didn’t build this country”. Or for defending Kyle Rittenhouse when he shot Kenosha protesters. Or for claiming that immigration “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.” Or for continuing to work for a network that helped spread the “big lie” that fueled January’s deadly Capitol riot.)
It is a sharp irony that the same right-wing commentators who thought Colin Kaepernick’s protests were “disrespectful” to the military stood by a president who called soldiers “losers” and “suckers” and moved a warship because John McCain’s name was on it. Or that they include and fund a man who clearly has nothing but contempt for female veterans.
UPDATE (April 9, 2021): Tucker Carlson is under new scrutiny after a week of inflammatory comments — this time regarding the Capitol riot and a bizarre “replacement” theory.
On Tuesday, Jan. 6, Carlson opened his show by marking three months since the deadly Capitol riot. But his comments obscured the truth of the event. “A mob of older peole from unfashionable zip codes somehow made it all the way to Washington, D.C.,” he said. “They wandered freely through the Capitol, like it was their building or something. They didn’t have guns, but a lot of them had extremely dangerous ideas. They talked about the Constitution, and something called ‘their rights’. Some of them made openly seditious claims. They insisted, for example, that the last election wasn’t entirely fair. The whole thing was terrifying, and then, as you’ve been told so very often, they committed unspeakable acts of violence.”
FACT CHECK: The rioters did have guns. According to NPR, “Federal prosecutors say that Christopher Michael Alberts of Maryland was arrested on Capitol grounds on the evening of Jan. 6 while carrying a Taurus G2c 9 mm handgun with one round in the chamber and a full 12-round magazine. He also allegedly had an extra magazine in his pocket and was carrying a gas mask, pocket knife and first-aid kit[…]
Lonnie Leroy Coffman of Alabama was also arrested that evening after law enforcement found two firearms on his person, as well as what a federal judge referred to as a “small armory” in his truck, which was parked near the Capitol. According to the court, the government found “a loaded handgun,” “a loaded rifle,” “a loaded shotgun,” “a crossbow with bolts,” “several machetes,” “a stun gun” and “11 mason jars containing a flammable liquid, with a hole punched in the top of each jar.”
Today, the Anti-Defamation League is calling for Carlson to go. In a letter to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, the league blasted Carlson for comments he made last night in a segment on his show. The offending comments (this time) concerned immigration and voting rights.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true,” Carlson claimed.
Insisting that he wasn’t voicing the “replacement” theory that he is now accused of invoking, Carlson said that “this is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they’re importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American guaranteed at birth is one man, one vote, and they’re diluting it. No, they are not allowed to do that. Why are we putting up with this?”
The ADL called out Carlson in its letter to Scott: “Last night, in a segment on his program dealing with voting rights and allegations of voter disenfranchisement, Tucker Carlson disgustingly gave an impassioned defense of the white supremacist “great replacement theory,” the hateful notion that the white race is in danger of being “replaced” by a rising tide of non-whites.”
“In short, this is not legitimate political discourse. It is dangerous race-baiting, extreme rhetoric. And yet, unfortunately, it is the culmination of a pattern of increasingly divisive rhetoric used by Carlson over the past few years. His anti-immigrant rhetoric has embraced subtle appeals to racism […] Furthermore, Carlson has suggested that the very idea of white supremacy in the U.S. is a hoax, earning him plaudits from former Klansman David Duke and white supremacist Richard Spencer,” the ADL wrote.
“Make no mistake: this is dangerous stuff. The ‘great replacement theory’ is a classic white supremacist trope that undergirds the modern white supremacist movement in America,” the ADL said, charging that this same sentiment underpinned the deadly 2017 Charlottesville protest chants of “Jews will not replace us!” And the ADL highlighted a slew of other xenophobic and racially charged comments Carlson has made over the years.
“Given his long record of race-baiting, we believe it is time for Carlson to go,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says.